The interoperability gap
The MatrixCare/Brightree survey, The Interoperability Gap, compares the views of home health and hospice providers with your referral sources, regarding the understanding, expectations, and needs surrounding interoperability now and in the immediate future. To learn more about the Interoperability Gap, click here for the full report.
Answers by Navin Gupta, Vice President, Home Health, Hospice & Private Duty, MatrixCare
Q: What is the importance of interoperability for a business?
A: If a healthcare business’ commitment is to drive optimal patient outcomes, then interoperability is the “secret sauce” that makes this happen. To ensure better patient outcomes, providers across various care settings and disciplines need to provide seamless care coordination throughout the transition process by ensuring all relevant health records are exchanged electronically reducing errors and optimizing care delivery.
As businesses navigate the transition from fee-for-service to fee-for-value, payor-provider separation to the blurring of lines between payor and providers, and broad referral networks to narrow referral networks– the winners in this new world will be those who partner with technology vendors that are committed to an open ecosystem that includes data exchanges across all boundaries. Interoperability cannot be viewed as an “add-on” for providers; the real winners among health care providers will have this engrained within their operating DNA. Interoperability drives better patient outcomes– period.
Q: What do you think the most important finding of the survey is?
A: Clearly, the most important finding from the survey is the percentage of referring providers who are willing to switch to a different post-acute provider to accept electronic referrals. Given that referrals are the “lifeline” of any healthcare provider– providers who do not have an open and integrated system that allows an exchange of information will find themselves edged out of the care delivery system.
For any health provider evaluating their technology partner– the strength of interoperability should be very high on their checklist to ensure they have a distinct advantage within care delivery. It is essential to keep in mind the four dimensions of interoperability (as per ONC)– “sending, receiving, finding, and integrating from outside sources.” It is not enough to do just one or two aspects of this.
Q: Did anything from the survey surprise you?
A: The most significant disconnect according to the survey’s findings is the understanding of what “interoperability” truly means. Eighty percent of post-acute providers say they can receive electronic referrals, but referring providers don’t see those percentages. The question then becomes: “why is there a disconnect?”
I believe the disconnect happens because there is a lack of full awareness and expectation of what an exchange of information means. As the white paper points out– delivering a PDF with data that needs to be re-keyed in as a step toward interoperability falls well short of the definition. Vendors and standards bodies need to work toward continuing to push the envelope in terms of information exchange and more importantly, educating providers on what they should expect. Shortage in the labor market makes it even more imperative for technology to be used as a labor force multiplier that creates true operating leverage. Interoperability will be the secret-sauce for the winners in this new healthcare ecosystem.